Marriage Records are a good Start for your Research of your Family Tree!
If you are planning to compile a family tree, you will find that marriage records are more often than not a vital clue. Official marriage records will reveal exactly who married who, when and where, and you can then trace parents of these people, or their offspring. In fact marriage records are probably the most vital key to compiling an accurate family tree.
In some parts of the world you can find out who married who, when, where and how, by doing simple searches on the Internet. But these searches are not always completely successful, largely because some countries have not yet got around to making their records available electronically, online. Also, not all electronic records go back far enough. This is why you will find the participants of television programmes like Who do you think you are? travelling all over the globe in search of their ancestors, and the key to their roots.
So, where to start?
When you research and write up a family tree, what you would normally do is to start with yourself, and then trace backwards. Unless you already know, you will need to find out:
1. who your parents were (or are),
2. who each of their parents (your grandparents) were (or are),
3. who each of your grandparents parents (your great-grandparents) were, and
4. who your great-great-grandparents parents were.
This can be absolutely fascinating, especially if people in your family, way back, travelled between the continents and established new homes in foreign climes. Going even further back than this can be a wonderful challenge.
When you draw these factual details on paper, they commonly look like branches, no matter how straight they look. This is probably where the term family tree came from in the first place.
But for a family tree to be meaningful, it must be accurate. People with more common - or perhaps more usual names - will find it more difficult to accurately pinpoint their roots, unless they have some clear idea of what their ancestors did in the past, particularly in terms of relationships and work priorities. Another normally accurate clue is if you know someone in your past owned certain property that you can use to track their lives.
Follow the branches - and the roots - logically, and don't forget to keep checking the marriage records.